Friday, July 16, 2010

The Colorful World of Dr. Seuss

Before the Islands of Adventure project moved to Florida, art director Wes Cook had painted color elevations for all of the buildings. The colors were carefully chosen, often using the books as reference. The two-dimensional paintings seemed to cover every side of the building. But Seuss Landing is a 3-dimensional organic land growing in the Florida sun.

Colors that had high contrast on paper appeared pale in the field. Two-dimensional drawings have lines at corners where Seuss buildings don’t have corners. Figuring out how to respect Wes Cook’s original vision while working with the reality in the field presented the ultimate challenge for making dreams come true.

I convinced management that the models had to be painted in order to solve the problems at a small scale and a small price. Repainting a giant green ham was expensive (I know because it happened). Colors had to be pumped up.

The stripes on the cat’s hat are a deep salmon in the book. That’s fine in print, but in the Florida sun the primer coat that matched the book looked pink. Management asked me repeatedly if this was the right color. There was only one right answer, “No, that’s just the primer.” I chose a new deep red that actually fit what everyone had in mind.

Here is a photo for one of the models after it was painted. I had permission to the have the models painted, but I only had one painter assigned to the job of seven models. I ended up painting on much of the models myself in order to get the job done in time to be useful.

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